Jump Start # 2456
1 Corinthians 2:11 “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man expect the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.”
People have been saying a expression for so long now that many not only believe it to be true, but some even assume that it’s in the Bible somewhere. The expression? “God wants me to be happy.” God wants me to be happy, even if it means disobeying His word. Being happy is believed to be the greatest achievement in life. Even in the fiber of this country is the “Pursuit of Happiness.” God wants me to be happy, which translates to, if I’m unhappy in my marriage, then I ought to walk away. And, when questioned why one does that, the answer is obvious, “God wants me to be happy.” If I find someone who makes me laugh more, I ought to be allowed to leave my marriage and marry that other person, because we all know, God wants me to be happy. Now, if going to worship services every week is just too demanding, and I find preaching not to my style, then I shouldn’t be required to attend, because we all know, God wants me to be happy. If hanging out with my friends on Friday nights, having a few drinks and being a little wild and crazy makes me happy, then it cannot be wrong. Because we all know, God wants me to be happy.
Just a few reminders here.
First, “God wants me to be happy,” is not a verse in the Bible. It’s simply not there. But the opposite isn’t better, God wants me to be miserable. What God wants is for you and I to follow Him. He wants us to trust Him. He wants us to love Him, worship Him, and allow Him to be the Lord of our lives. In so doing, we become the best that we can. This will make us holy and righteous, which the Bible DOES say. This will bring a peace within us, help us get along with us and give us a purpose and a compass in life. Happiness will result from a life that follows God but happiness is not the goal nor the destination. God is.
Second, since the Bible never says, “God wants me to be happy,” how do I know that God is not more interested in me being physically fit? Or, could it be that God wants me to be debt free? Or, could it be that God wants me to take a new job overseas? Or, could it be that God wants me to get a Master’s Degree? Or, could it be that God wants me to downsize? Or, could it be that God wants me to move my parents in with us? Or, could it be that God wants me to invest in gold? Or, could it be that God wants me to vote for Trump?
When we stick “God wants me to be…” on to anything it sounds divine. Who is going to argue with God? It seems that this is destined and this is the right thing to do. But could it be that we confuse what we want with what we think God wants. I want this, so in time that becomes, “God wants me to do this.” And, when God wants me to do something, there is no stopping that. We best do it because this is what God wants. So, it could be that I want to be happy and I translate that into God wants me to be happy. And sticking my face into a bowl of chocolate really makes me happy, so obviously, God wants me to stick my face into a bowl of chocolate. Does He? Naaman wanted to go dip in other rivers. He was told to go to the Jordan. He was angry about that. Cain offered God vegetables instead of a lamb. He must have thought “This is what I want to do and so, this is what God wants.” God rejected that offering. The text says, “He had no regard for it.” Jeroboam wanted the nation not to go to Jerusalem to worship. So, he established two alternative places. He must have thought that this will be just as good. God will like this. He didn’t. Aaron led the nation into building a golden calf and rewriting their history. The people seemed to love it. They were dancing and having a great time. I expect no one said, “Do we have to go to church?” It was incredible. It was awesome. It also violated several of the commandments that were in the hands of Moses. God didn’t approve, nor accept that worship.
All of this brings us to our verse today. No one knows the thoughts of a person except the spirit that is in him. We’d say, “Only you know what you are thinking. “ Now, we often, especially in a marriage, don’t go along with this. How often does one person say to the other, “I know what you are thinking?” Do you? You might guess right, but you really do not know. I think about this often when I’m preaching. I see people looking at me and I wonder are they with me or are they day dreaming, are their minds elsewhere? When a person nods his head in approval or says “Amen,” that lets me know, “that guy is on the same page with me.” But otherwise, I don’t know. I don’t know what you are thinking and you don’t know what I am thinking.
If you and I don’t know what others are thinking, how can we know what God is thinking? No one knows the thoughts of God expect the Spirit of God. The next verse Paul says, we have received the Spirit of God. In other words, God has shown us, told us, and revealed to us, what He is thinking. That’s the Bible. Without the Bible, you and I are guessing. And, this leads us back to, “God wants me to be happy.” How does a person know that? He doesn’t. He can’t. The only way he would know that is from the Bible. Without telling us in the Bible, we don’t know.
There is no telling where this could take a person if he started assuming what God likes. God likes the Dodgers more than the Reds, I could say. God likes Republicans more than Democrats. God likes Pepsi more than Coke. God likes Classical Music more than Pop music. God likes the Midwest better than the West Coast. God likes baseball more than football. God likes America more than Europe. God likes Chevy more than Ford. There is no end to this senseless guessing. I expect on many of those things I just listed, God really doesn’t care. God wants us to be holy, righteous and following Him. One can do that in Europe, Africa or America.
God wants me to be happy, has been a green light for many to ignore the teachings of the Bible and to do things that the Bible prohibits. They have put their happiness above all things. If anything, God wants me to make Him happy. The master of the five talent man was pleased when his servant did what he hoped. Paul said, “we make it our ambition to please the Lord.” That’s where the emphasis needs to be. What makes God happy? Finding the answer to that will lead me to the life that God wants me to live. Standing up for Him, put some in fiery furnaces, lion’s dens and dark prisons. Yet, their choices, their convictions, their faith, is what pleased the Lord. They may not have been personally happy, but their faith pleased the Lord.
Rather than saying, “God wants me to be happy,” we ought to be saying, “God wants me to please Him.” And, there is no way that I can please Him if I am violating and disobeying what He said in the Bible.
Our pursuit ought not to be of our happiness, but of His pleasure. There is a difference.